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Back to work, mama...

I set my alarm for 5am, the alarm I hadn't set in 2 years.  I have 3 kids and as a stay at home mom I could always count on one of them to make sure I was up.  But today I needed to make sure I was awake even before my kids.  I had so many things to do and such little time to get them all done because today was my big day - the day that I would re-enter the workforce...

I looked at the checklist for the morning and got to work:
  • clean the floor
  • clean the bathrooms
  • pick up the poop in the backyard
  • shower/get ready
  • cut up fruit for the kids to have with lunch
  • get the kids fed and dressed for the day
  • print out the instructions for the nanny (even though I had sent her the doc days in advance)
  • bring I9 docs for orientation
  • don't forget to eat breakfast
  • don't forget to tell the nanny about how Rocky sometimes gets stuck in the baby room and wakes her up, how the boys can play with the hose in the yard but they forget to turn it off, how......(you get the point)
Looking back it seems ridiculous that I felt the need to clean the floor at 5am that morning.  I was overly hyper about wanting the house to be in perfect condition for the nanny's first day.  God forbid the house isn't sparkling clean for my kids to play all day.  I'm sure the nanny is quite capable of cutting up the fruit for the kids so I'm not sure why I felt I needed to do that.  And, of course, I had sent her the long document of instructions for the kids days in advance but yet I still freaked out when the printer wasn't working. 

Let's be honest... the truth is that I was trying to be in control that morning because I was panicking about giving up control and letting someone else take the lead with my kids while I went back to work.  And I was worrying to no end about how my kids were going to feel once I was gone.  I had gone over the plan with my 5-year-old and 3-year-old many times in the weeks leading up to this to the point where they were sick of talking about it.  But I still worried that they would somehow feel disappointed that I was making this choice.  And then there was my sweet 10-month-old baby girl.  She didn't even realize what was happening.  How would this affect her?!

I was going back to work two years after, like so many other working moms,  I decided to quit my job to become a stay at home mom.  It was hard for me to make that choice back then though I never once regretted it over these two years at home.  In fact, I probably would have stayed away from the workforce longer had this opportunity not presented itself.  My previous employer is giving me the opportunity to work part-time, just 2 days a week from my home.  It's almost too good to be true.  They seem to understand that my family is and always will be my first priority and that without the right balance, I would not be willing to go back at this point.  In my opinion more employers should recognize this and make these opportunities in this day and age.  It probably seems crazy that I am so nervous about giving up control when it's only 2 DAYS a week.  I can only imagine what it feels like for stay at home moms that go from being at home right back to working full time. 

So after a lot of kisses and hugs and reminders about the plan (which I cared about way more than my kids), I finally cut the cord and left my house to attend orientation and pick up my computer.  When I arrived at the office, I had a few minutes of down time as I waited in the lobby. I took a deep breath and instantly thought "Before we get to work, we've already had a day"  It was a line from a blog post I wrote about being a working mom prior to quitting my job two years ago.  This line was very meaningful to me because it was something I thought to myself almost every morning when I walked through the office doors back then.  I couldn't believe I was back in this world.  But just as the working mom guilt was starting to set in, I was greeted with "Welcome back, Sue!" and a warm smile.  I attended orientation and spent the rest of my day meeting with old co-workers and getting set up.  Though a lot had changed, in some ways it felt like I had never left.  And you know what?!  Being back in this world, being my marketing-chick-self once again, felt good! 

My kids did amazing with my first week back to work.  They enjoyed playing games with the nanny and once I was set up in my home office I was able to see them at my coffee breaks and when I ate lunch.

Despite my children's positive reaction to the change, it's going to take some time for me to let go of this gratuitous "working mommy guilt".  I know I shouldn't feel guilty, but unfortunately it seems to be a part of motherhood that's hard to avoid.  Why is that, mamas???

I got a little piece of "me" back this week.  While I believe my kids are the best part of me, I recognize that I enjoy having something of my own to focus on outside of my roles as mommy and wife. 

So what am I now?  A working mom?  A stay at home mom?  I guess I'll be a little bit of both and not completely either...

...And maybe that's just right.   

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